Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Vicarious Liability—Canadian Style

November 16, 2004

New Yorkers know vicarious liability. They´ve had to deal with 19 automakers and almost every major retail bank opting out of vehicle leasing in the Empire State because of a lack of a ceiling on jury awards in vicarious liability cases. Apparently Canadians know vicarious liability too. The CBC reports that an Ontario car-accident victim has been awarded $12.98 million this week. Laura May Browne, 29, was a passenger in a car that crashed in Ontario in 1997. The driver of the car was subsequently convicted of dangerous driving. Because the car was leased, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the negligence of the driver under the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario. Hence the leasing company, Primus Automotive, will pay the multimillion-dollar settlement.The Canadian leasing industry will be watching the impact of this settlement on insurance rates. Browne suffered a severe head injury as well as a broken pelvis and remained in a coma for more than a month. Today, she lives in her home but receives 24-hour care, communicating via a listener-assisted spelling board by nodding her head.The settlement is believed to be the largest in Canadian history, the CBC reports.
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